Hand Tools Archive

making big junk

David Weaver

...work has been very busy lately, so i haven't been making much literally other than using woodworking to exercise for an hour a day (resawing bed boards that will span between the rails, etc) as that's about how much free time I've had most days.

One thing I almost never do is make anything large, so this has been a learning experience. My shop is plenty large - but the way that I have it set up, divided into three areas with storage at the sides and in the middle, really not ideal for this.

Part of the learning experience has also been in working with junk wood where you really just need to throw things together, I've found out that with this really cheap pine, it's actually more accurate to cut the parts that are permanent glued and pinned mortises with a dovetail saw at the shoulders and split or saw the tenons and keep the chisels out of it entirely. The long stretchers along the length are bed bolted, and the bits on the width are pinned and glued mortise and tenons, which leaves the top rails as loose (mortise and tenon, but not glued) to make assembly easy.

Apparently, 2x6s and 2x10s have gotten expensive since I bought the wood for this bed - the total cost to this point with a bunk bed box spring and the bed bolts has been about $350. The low quality of the wood means the whole thing will get a light going-over with filler and then it will be painted white (per wishes of my daughter).

The ladder stands on its own, but it's pinned by 5/8" once installed (my kids can't be trusted - they'll be jousting on it sooner or later).

I know nothing about making beds except planning where the top of the mattress will be and reading a few key items (e.g., how much extra room at the sides and ends of the mattress to be able to get sheets on the bed, etc). The mattress will rise high enough that there won't be that much room between the bottom of the second rail and the top of the mattress. Daughter is a sleep walker, so the top of the bed is a bit like a cage. we'll see how that goes.

rails and footer are 2x10s glued in a "L" and then reinforced with deck screws from underneath, all tied together by screwing in the bed boards instead of allowing them to just sit on top.



I don't wish I'd have spent less time on the dimensioning, but do wish I'd have just sawn and thrown together all of the joinery - the dovetail saw cut right at the line turns out to be more crisp - no chisel work needed.

Drill and pare on crap wood works better, too, but I cut most of the mortises by hand (all of those that were glued and pinned).

Like I said, a first for me to not make something smaller and a little more fiddly, aside from my workbench (that's also just thrown together as fast as possible).

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